My girls and I love listening to all sorts of music in the van. I cannot count the number of times that we have had impromptu dance sessions while waiting at red lights and stop signs. Those memories I hold near to my heart. One song in particular, they LOVE. It is “Springsteen” sung by Eric Church. It is all about how music is tied to our memories. You hear a song and it sends you right back to a time in your past. It doesn’t hurt that it is a country song either, after all I am from Amarillo. I am a believer that a song can take you back to a moment like you are living it fresh again. This is one reason I find it difficult to listen to some songs. The memory they bring forth is at times painful or even shameful. However, this song takes me back to my later years of high school, around the age of 18. There are wonderful memories mixed with painful ones. SInce I am going to be 30 this year, and I thought back to 18 and high school, I thought of a few nuggets of wisdom I would share with my 18-year-old self.
Dear Green Eyes,
Congratulations, you have made it to your senior year. It was a long journey, or so it seemed that way and you have finally come to the end. It seems to take such a long time to get to the 12th grade but I assure you, time really does move fast when you are finished. It is so short in comparison with the rest of your life. Enjoy this coming year, adulthood is not to far ahead of you and with it comes responsibilities, they are wonderful but challenging. Enjoy the time you have with your family, things will not be the same after you graduate. It brings about a new stage in your relationship with family. They have to begin releasing you and letting you fly on your own. It is scary but remember the One who holds you in His hands. He is with you every step of the way even though it does not feel that way right now.
I see the insecurity in your heart. The whispering in your mind that tells you, you are not good enough. You are awkward, goofy, and a dork. You are precious dear girl. You are. You were created by a Father who loves you more than you can understand. Please start wrapping your mind around that truth. He created you and knows every last strand on your head. He knows every tear you have cried for the boys who have come and gone. He knows every lie you have told to make yourself look better. He knows EVERYTHING about you. Nothing is kept secret from Him. He loves you fiercely despite those imperfections. He knows that you will never be perfect. He just wants you to love Him with every ounce of your being. Let Him change you. The battle you fight to change yourself will always be a loss. When you allow Him to work through your heart, you are forever changed. Don’t let boys define you. Your worth is found in Him alone. For those time you have screwed up, His forgiveness awaits right there at the door, run to it and open it. There is NOTHING that cannot be forgiven by His beautiful grace. NOTHING.
He is fighting for your heart. Dear girl, let Him have it. It will bring refreshment to your soul if you do. You don’t have to keep fighting upstream. Fall into the depths of His love and grace and He will gently guide you down this path called life. I will not promise you that life will not get tough. In fact, I can tell you that you are in for quite a journey. It is filled with great joy but there is much pain as well. Let me assure you of this. He will never leave nor forsake you. He will bring peace in the midst of things that you never thought possible to have peace.
Laugh hard dear one. Smile often. Be thankful for all things in your life. Take the time to see the gifts that you have been given. Life is too short to find the negative so much. Trust me, anger and bitterness are no way to walk this life. They are a destructive poison that will eat you up.
When you meet that boy that looks at you, grab his hand and run together. Trust me, he is a good guy. Be kind to him. He is not perfect, don’t expect him to be. Encourage him and point out the good about him rather than nag him about the bad all the time. Love and cherish him. Laugh and have fun together. He has hurts and weaknesses as well, don’t always assume that you have it worse. When he talks, listen with your whole self. Pray together. Hold his hand and verbally tell him that you love him and why you respect him.
When you stare at your kids for the first time, say thank you to the mother that birthed you all those years ago. Kids are tough and sanctifying but such a gift. Try to remember that in the trenches of every day life. Find the thankful and focus on the good things about parenting. They will only be with you for a short time. Show them how to love Jesus by actively showing them Jesus in your life. Teach them His word and how to walk life with Him. Hold them, laugh with them, care for them. Enjoy your parents. Know that they are truly seeking your best interest. They are humans and at time they will fail but their love for you is constant. Give them grace. We all need grace. Help out around the house and find ways to serve them the way they have served you.
Love people. Don’t just be kind to people but truly care about and love them. Get to know people. Don’t let fear of rejection stop you from trying. Fear paralyzes. Meet people right where they are at. Show them who Jesus really is. Pray fervently. It will be your saving grace. Things are going to get tough at times and His strength is all you can rely on. Pray for others. We are all in need of something greater than ourselves.
Watch your tongue. Words hurt or they can heal. Don’t let anger be your god. It will be destructive to not only yourself but to those around you. Relationships can be destroyed with the constant loss of a temper. Seek to use your words wisely. Use them for encouraging, speaking truth and loving others. The faster you learn to bridle your tongue, the better.
Fight for injustices. Don’t stand silent. FIGHT! Do it in a way that comes from love but never remain silent. When you see someone struggling, find a way to meet their need. When you see someone hurting, comfort them. When someone is scared, stand with them. Don’t live in complacency. It will get you nowhere. Your passion is a beautiful thing, remember to place love in the midst of your passion otherwise you are like a clanging cymbal. People don’t want to be near that. Trust me. Love your friends with everything you have. They will sharpen you, encourage you, challenge you, hold you when you cannot stand, and laugh with you until you can’t breathe. Enjoy the gift that they are. Love your enemies. Yes, you read correctly. Stop fighting with those that fight with you. Be different, show grace, because my beautiful girl you have been given so much grace. Enjoy this life that God has given you and always place your eyes on the cross. Run the race hard but joyfully. You have a place in this world. Glorify the One who has laid His life down for you. His love will transform you. Allow it. Love Him with all your heart, mind and strength. He will finish the good work that He started, I promise.
Green Eyes-12 years later